when I was a child--
only the breeze.
You cannot pet it, it will only
hunker down, hiding.
I am never lonely, but long to be.
Sometimes it slithers down my arms
to my fingers
and lays eggs inside.
(They turn to stone,
change flesh to bone.)
In my belly, its basket swells
with the things it saves--
a crowded hell.
"Look at the fat old lady, dropping things!"
the children call.
The thing in my hair bites their ball.
At night the thing whispers, nips,
draws blood and memories,
(At dawn it dies and sleeps
wrapped like a hobble around my feet.)
Play a flute and see it risen as a Christ
in a mockery of praying
Above my head, a permanent rotten halo
whispering, "You are beautiful,
(Senora, like the setting sun,
mi viejo = "my old one"
Crotalus Aquilus = Queretaro dusky rattlesnake, a venomous pit viper found at high altitude in Mexico.